Introduction to Criminalistics

The Foundation of Forensic Science


  • Barry Fisher, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Los Angeles, CA
  • William Tilstone, William J. Tilstone, Executive Director (Retired), National Forensic Science Technology Center, Largo, FL Forensic Solutions International, Auchterarder, Scotland
  • Catherine Woytowicz, Part-time Faculty, The George Washington University, Department of Chemistry, Washington, DC

Criminalistics is that sub-field of Forensic Science dealing with the collection, preservation, examination, and interpretation of physical evidence. Introduction to Criminalistics: The Foundation of Forensic Science covers the basics of Criminalistics in a textbook for a one or two semester course with the intention of preparing the student for a future in forensic science. The role of the Criminalist is to analyze, compare, identify, and interpret physical evidence in the crime lab. These crime labs, or forensic labs, have two primary functions: identifying evidence, and linking suspect, victim, and crime scene through physical evidence. This new primer introduces the learner to the structure and organization of the crime lab and to the role of the Criminalist. Topics covered include how to process a crime scene and preserve evidence, the basic principles of firearm examination, latent fingerprints, and rudimentary toxicology, or how to determine the presence or absence of drugs and poisons.Well organized and methodical, this colorful textbook, written by an eminent professional, has the potential to become the standard text for applying techniques of the physical and natural sciences to examining physical evidence.
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Students in Forensic Science programs, advanced college undergraduates enrolled in forensic science and graduate students entering forensic science degree programs.


Book information

  • Published: January 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-088591-6

Table of Contents

Section I: Introduction, Field and LaboratoryChapter 1 Forensic Science – Scope and Perspective from Scene to Laboratory Barry FisherSection II: Pattern EvidenceChapter 2 Introduction to Pattern Evidence - Tool Marks and Impressions Catherine Woytowicz and Bill TilstoneChapter 3 Firearms Catherine Woytowicz and Bill TilstoneChapter 4 Fingerprints Catherine Woytowicz and Bill TilstoneChapter 5 Documents Catherine Woytowicz and Bill TilstoneChapter 6 Physical Evidence Catherine Woytowicz and Bill TilstoneChapter 7 Hair and Fiber Catherine Woytowicz and Bill TilstoneSection III: Chemical and Instrumental Analytical EvidenceChapter 8 Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Catherine Woytowicz and Bill TilstoneChapter 9 Arson and ExplosivesCatherine Woytowicz and Bill TilstoneChapter 10 Forensic Toxicology Bill TilstoneSection IV: Biological EvidenceChapter 11 Forensic BiologyBill TilstoneChapter 12 DNABill TilstoneAppendicesA. Personal Effects and IdentificationB. Digital EvidenceC. Crime Reconstruction